Best of CES 2009

best of CES

While Innovations (for whom I was a judge) has their choices of the ‘Best of CES 2009’ I have my own choices that may or may not agree with them. they are my personal biases about what will be most useful and/or fun for me to use.

I was able to meet quite a few of the designers and talk about the developments they have been working on as well as what will be coming over the coming year.

Great HD technologies for 2009, including thin, thin thin TVs, wireless HD streaming to every monitor in your house, integrated blue-ray players, faster refresh rates and better standards for the larger screens (33″ and up).

NVidia’s 3D glasses and Fox’s Digital 3D transmission of the Florida Oklahoma football game. These technologies are going to bring 3D as a reality to people’s homes very soon. Playing video games with the NVidia’s goggles was quite an experience.

1 or 2 terabyte micro SD card from, who else? SanDisk. Remember when it was a big deal to have 128 MEGABYTES in yor whole computer? (Commodore 64….anyone? am I too old to report on these things?)

Suffice it to say that with all the talk of there not being as many people or exhibitors at this conference, there were plenty of exciting concepts and products to keep the average consumer drooling for the next year and beyond.

Now take those proof of concepts and make it available and affordable.

New Mac Products for 2009

Macworld is where Apple likes to introduce their products just a couple days earlier than CES…just to, you know, set themselves apart.

There are new accessories like mice, chargers, notebook cases and hands free bluetooth accessories for the car.

New software was introduced including all new iLife 09 with photo, movie, garageband and web applications that include alot more interactivity and control. The iWork suite has some new features, most notable is the new application for iPods or iPhones that allows for remote control of Keynote presentations that is similar to the Remote application for iTunes and AppleTV. The app will be available for $1 at the iTunes Store.

Real Software announced Tuesday at Macworld Expo that REAL Server 2009 will ship in February. REAL Server is a cross-platform, multi-user database server. There are several major upgrades for the update. The Real Server Developer Edition is free for developers to use to develop a server application.

iTunes is going DRM free in March, they are also changing their pricing on the products (songs, shows and movies) from a straight $.99 to $.69, $.99 or $1.29. Additionally, users will be able to make purchases over 3G as well as Wi-Fi, which would make it possible to buy items as long as you have a cell connection.

Focus on Usability in 2009

In years past, the Consumer Electronics Show has been a showcase for excess. Huge televisions, products that are well out of the price range of the average consumer and were often rushed to release in time so that the manufacturers could make a bug splash at the show. They didn’t spend much time on usability research or test to see if people actually wanted or needed the product.

With the current economic situation, not only will there be fewer people and products at CES this year, but I am also hoping that companies will focus more on usability in their products. People are going to be more discerning in how and where they spend their money. The average tech consumer now should expect more from their products. It is not enough that it surfs the net, or connects your TV and computer. It should do it easier, faster and cheaper.

Companies will need to focus on usability and be sure they are spending their R&D monies on creating a product that serves a need simpler and without the fluff.

Customizable Keyboard. Ultimate Gamer Usability

customizable keyboard

Although I do most of my gaming on my “antiquated” PS2, I have been known to play some Doom, Diablo and World of Warcraft on my PC. Since I do not have one of those fancy controllers for my PC, I have been relegated to the keyboard for my action and have been frustrated with the designer’s decisions about where the controls are layed out. There may be some customization available, but nothing like what they did with the DX1.

I may not want this for gaming, but the possibilities for using it for the command controls in some of my design programs (Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Photoshop) make me salivate!

Keyboards are great, but for the hardcore gamer, they are far from perfect. Just think about how many times you’ve dreamed about moving the keys to fit your hand, or to make a key execute a string of commands. The DX1 Input System was built with you in mind. Simply put, all you do is stick the keys where you want and then tell the DX1 what you want each key to do. It can be one command, it can be a string of commands – you now have the freedom to configure your ideal keyboard.

The 25 included buttons stick to the Tray in any configuration. And, if you change your mind or mess up, they are removable and moveable – just twist off and restick. The Tray is clear, so you can make your own backgrounds. Maybe you’ll label your buttons, maybe you’ll slide in artwork – the choice is yours. And the two permanent little buttons let you bring up the DX1 control panel and assign/record macros on the fly. That’s right: you can be in-game, realize you need a new key, stick it down, assign it a command or macro, and keep playing.

The DX1 works with any program and can remember a different set of macros for each program you use! You could stick down the keys and without changing anything other than the program you are using, they would serve as a pallet of commands in Photoshop, a squadron of macros for your favorite RTS, and your perfect arsenal for your fraggiest FPS! With the DX1, your competitors will hit 1 button to fire at you, while you’ll hit 1 button to fire, switch weapons, fire again, duck, switch back to your original weapon, and reload! Ultimate power and ultimate control is now at your fingertips.

Ergodex DX1 Input System

  • Includes: a Pad, a removable Tray, 25 numbered Keys with a storage tray, preprinted key labels, an installation CD, and a Quick Start Guide.
  • System Requirements:
    • Windows XP / 2000 (with Service Pack 3 or later) – US Version
    • 350 MHZ Pentium III PC (or equivalent)
    • 128 MB RAM
    • 50 MB of free hard drive space
    • Powered USB Port (1.1 or 2.0)
    • US English Keyboard
    • Mouse
  • Pad Dimensions: 10” X 8”
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year (limited)
  • original article at ThinkGeek